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NRAO names new assistant director for New Mexico operations

Press Release From: National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Posted: Monday, August 30, 2021

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) has selected Dr. Patricia (Trish) Henning as the next Assistant Director for New Mexico Operations. In this position, she will lead the operations of the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), the continent-wide Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), and the Domenici Science Operations Center in Socorro. She currently is NRAO's Assistant Director for Science Support and Research.

Henning will succeed Dr. Mark McKinnon on Sept. 18. McKinnon, who has served in the position since 2016, will take a role as an NRAO Senior Scientist after first embarking on a scientific sabbatical. McKinnon led the VLA and VLBA through significant technical upgrades while also serving as Project Director for the Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) project.

Henning joined NRAO last year after a successful career as a researcher, educator, and administrator at the University of New Mexico (UNM). At UNM, she was Director of the Institute for Astrophysics, Head of User Programs for the Long Wavelength Array, Associate Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Associate Vice President for Research. While serving in these roles, she also continued a vigorous program of research, studying the Universe beyond our own Milky Way Galaxy using radio telescopes around the world, including the VLA.

She received her Ph.D in astronomy at the University of Maryland, then held a postdoctoral appointment at the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy in Dwingeloo, the Netherlands, before joining UNM in 1993. 

"I welcome this amazing opportunity to lead an impressive organization in New Mexico, delivering and supporting world-class facilities. I am excited at the prospect of leading New Mexico Operations into the future, and recognize the importance of the VLA to the state -- not only for the economic opportunities, but also for the pride it engenders among the citizens," Henning said.

"Trish Henning brings an impressive background as a scientist and a leader to this new role within NRAO. She is highly regarded by radio astronomers around the world and also has extensive experience in using our facilities as a researcher. These things, coupled with her excellent background in administration and management, make her an ideal fit for this job," said NRAO Director Dr. Tony Beasley.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

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